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Mantis thus far

November 6, 2011

EDIT: Although most people that are going to be reading this are either Splatters (Splatspace members) or people connected with FabLabsCarolinas and are thus familiar with what I am doing, I should provide some backstory for anyone else who happens across this. The Mantis 9.1 is a mill designed by David Carr and is part of MIT’s Machines That Make (MTM) project. The original source material can be found at

So back to the post:

With Halloween madness over, I’m back to more techie making. Specifically, I’m back to working on a Mantis 9.1, a 3-axis CNC mill (mostly intended for milling printed circuit boards.)

This weekend I made several big strides and have essentially finished the X and Y axes and am almost finished with the Z axis and spindle. Overall pic of the workings of the 2 main assemblies:

The 2 main bits (X and Y axes) of the Mantis 9.1 mill.

In close up, here’s the X axis, showing a few differences from the stock design. I didn’t have the tooling to machine out the ends of the Acme leadscrews, so I used 2-part spider connectors to join the stepper motor drive shafts to the leadscrews. You can also see how I had to rout out a little space so that the connector does not hit the rear of the X carriage. The gray stuff is JB Weld- a great epoxy, but a little messy and I used a bit too much. X axis:

Closeup of X axis showing the works

Likewise, here’s the Y, showing the same mods:

Clseup of Y axis

With the Delrin nuts epoxied into place and the motors connected, it appears to move smoothly in the X and Y directions.

Tomorrow I finish up the Z-axis. The motor is supposed to get epoxied to the rear of the X carriage, but right now it is not quite lining up with the hole where the Z leadscrew nut will go. So I have to get something to shim it about 3/32″ inch. Then I will have all 3 axes in place.

Another post about lessons learned (so far) will follow.

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